Saturday, December 20, 2014

peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment

(added by Mom)
New Address:
45-345 Mealele St.
Kaneohe, HI 96744

Aloha, everyone!

This week has been one of the hardest, greatest and craziest weeks of my life. Adjusting has been pretty easy, surprisingly. Kaneohe 1st ward is treating me well, and I feel right at home. (:

So I'm going to start with Tuesday. I found out Monday night that we were going somewhere very special... anyone care to guess where we went?

Yes, I finally went through the Laie Temple, the day I've been dreaming of since I got my mission call in June. (: I can't even begin to describe the beauty of Hawaii, let alone the temple here on Oahu. The Spirit is the same, and I just felt so blessed to be serving a mission. I gladly would've gone anywhere, but man, how blessed am I. I live in a place that many people only dream of visiting. (:
Later that day, we went to the Visitors Center! Here's a picture of my zone (minus our Zone leaders).

So THEN, I found out on Tuesday, that our zone was going to Pearl Harbor to do service!!!!! We  were able to go on the USS Missouri, and we cleaned Broadway (a huge tunnel in the middle of the Missouri). We had a whole lot of fun, and we were actually filmed while doing service. Watch for it, on the Mormon Newsroom! It was a really cool experience!

AND THEN I went to the Polynesian Cultural Center on Thursday night, and was able to ride the canoe ride and see how Christmas is celebrated around the world, the story of the birth of Christ, and so forth. 

this has definitely been one of those weeks where I wonder how I got so lucky. I adore not only the people of Hawaii, but the culture and the land. I never have wanted to visit Hawaii, and now that I live here I can't imagine being anywhere else. My zone is super amazing this transfer, and we had THE BEST zone meeting on Friday. The zone lordz came up with this idea, to have all the district leaders give a motivational speech to pump us up. Yeah, they picked out super dramatic film scores to give these speeches to, it was hilarious!

It's amazing how much the Lord knows us and is aware of us. He sent me here for such a purpose, and I am able to see more and more everyday that I was meant to be here. I have realized even more that the Lord will bless us, beyond our comprehension, if we just humble ourselves and ask. My testimony within this last week has just, grown so much. I honestly can't believe I have been on my mission for a few months and already learned so much.

There's a scripture in the Bible, found in John 16:33. It says:

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

What a huge blessing and comfort, to know that Heavenly Father sent His son to overcome the pains of the world, and to suffer for our sins so that we can return to live with Him again. This was the most important gift all of us have been given, one that our Father gave to us. He didn't have to, but He did. How grateful I am every single day for this unspeakable gift we've been given. I challenge everyone this holiday season to write down some of the talents you've been given from God, and then think of how you could use these talents to bless others around you. I know that as you do this, you will feel the pure love of Christ, and feel the true spirit of Christmas.

I love you all, so much. Thank you for the encouraging emails and letters. Last week and this week were extremely hard, and I will admit, I almost gave up. I am so grateful that I didn't, though. (: I have learned I need to have more patience with myself and those around me, and as I do so I can become the missionary Heavenly Father would be proud of!

'Ofa atu,
Sister Noriega

Laie Temple

Canoe ride - Christmas lights

Elders being... Elders 
Sister UV, Sateki and I on the USS Missouri

Vistors Center group pic, minus Zone Leaders

Windy day in Kaneohe

Laie Temple and me

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